Technical Reports

Evaluation of Alternative Detection Technologies for Trains and Highway Vehicles at Highway Rail Intersections

  • 01
  • Oct
  • 2000
AUTHOR: Richard P. Reiff, Scott E. Gage
SUBJECT: Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Warning Systems
KEYWORDS: Detection Systems, Loss of Shunt, Intelligent Traffic Systems
ABSTRACT: Under sponsorship from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI) evaluated five technologies for their ability to detect trains and/or highway vehicles approaching and occupying highway rail intersections. TTCI evaluated the performance of these technologies during October and November 1999 at the FRA’s Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colorado, USA. Railroad track circuits are the most common method currently used by North American railroads to detect trains and control warning devices at a highway/railroad intersection (HRI). The new advanced warning systems, such as four quadrant gates and barriers at HRIs may require additional information on train and highway vehicle status to ensure optimal operation and safety. To address these issues, non-track circuit based technologies have been proposed as an alternative for controlling HRI warning devices. Some alternative technologies offer additional features which allow the detection of highway vehicles located within the HRI limits, which may further enhance crossing safety. This evaluation included the assessment of operational and detection capabilities of alternative technologies.